The Palace Tweezer—Twenty Years Later

My Actual Ticket Stub—12.6.97

Twenty years later and I can still remember everything about that night—where I was, who I was with, what I was wearing. They say that live music can change your life, and that is exactly what happened to me on the sixth of December in 1997. On this night, something momentous happened. A piece of music harnessed from the outer realms of the universe came down through the instruments of a band from Vermont and transformed The Palace of Auburn Hills into a place of worship. On this night, we received “The Palace Tweezer.”

This jam is hands down, far and away, my favorite piece of music ever created by mankind. And it’s not even close. The Palace Tweezer has it all—the grimiest, subliminally connected funk grooves, a passage of ascension into spiritual realms of sound and soul, and an indescribable section of musical wizardry that I suspect was the soundtrack of the universe’s creation. The entire piece unfolds like poetry without a moment of hesitation, as if the music already existed—perfectly composed—and the band just allowed it to come through them. It seems impossible that a piece of improvised music so immaculate, so powerful, and so utterly dynamic could be generated by human beings on the fly.

I cannot begin to guess how many times I have listened to this jam over the past twenty years, but it sounds every bit as good today as it did when I got the analog copy sometime after tour. It has not lost a drop of freshness or power. The Palace Tweezer is a part of the fabric of my existence. Though I know the piece by heart, the feelings it produces on each and every listen are no less stirring than on the day I heard it.

Though Phish crafted so many sections of “funk” that fall, none approach the nuanced, four-minded mastery on display in this jam. The band members finish each other’s musical sentences, speaking as one entity rather than individual musicians. These grooves have a life of their own—locked in doesn’t begin to describe it.

The band gradually and ever so smoothly builds from these opening dance rhythms into a section of improvisation that opens a wormhole in space-time, allowing the music—and the Palace—to slip into an alternate dimension. This passage gives me chills every time I listen to it. Literally. Every time. Trey hits a lick in here that elevates the possibilities of the entire jam, and the band is right with him. From this point forward in the jam, words fail me. The music is beyond linguistic expression—a deeper magic from before the dawn of time.

I truly believe that the band communed with the divine while playing this jam. It is not far fetched, as we are all individual manifestations of the one divine energy of the universe. We are the universe awakening to itself and expressing itself as human beings for a short blip of time. Life is but a process of remembering not who we are, but what we are. Yet, because we are in human form, we are not in always in touch with this higher truth. But on that Saturday night in December, twenty years ago, Phish was not only in touch with it, they channelled this truth through music, through themselves and, subsequently, through everyone in the room.

It is this process that makes transcendent Phish jams such incomparably powerful experiences. This is the reason we keep going back—to remember and experience our truth. The Palace Tweezer is the greatest expression of my personal truth that I have ever heard. It is primordial music, an oracle of the infinite, telling a story of our past, present and future all at once.

Today—twenty years later—I will listen to the The Palace Tweezer again, and I will smile with awe and wonder, just as I did when the lights came on, oh so long ago.

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9,676 Responses to “The Palace Tweezer—Twenty Years Later”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    If the plan is to eventually release most of the summer 98 tour, this release makes sense. In a vacuum it’s a little random…I mean it’s very good in an era where almost every show is good…so why not? There are plenty of Dead releases like that, a good show from a great tour…hopefully in the long run 97-98 phish is like 77 Dead, where most of it is released and the rest is probably coming

  2. dorn76 Says:

    I googled “Ambler, PA” and bet accordingly.

  3. fat bastard Says:

    vibes phishm

  4. vapebraham Says:

    the Bler is a pimple of a town.

  5. vapebraham Says:

    no doubt, t3. the whole OJ show is fire. I was just Groovin it at the time of typing that particular non sequitur.

  6. MiA Says:

    “If the plan is to eventually release most of the summer 98 tour, this release makes sense. In a vacuum it’s a little random”

    I think Scotty Bernstein put the bug in Shapiro’s ear back on the 4th of January.

    So maybe that was all that was needed.

    I need to put a full on press onto Shapsie for Creek in A Box. All Deer Creek. Big honking box. Take all my money.

  7. vapebraham Says:

    oh damn. that MPP Light from ’15 is some twisted shit. skuzzy delic soup. $$$

  8. vapebraham Says:

    dorn: should have warned you about googling Ambler. It’s like saying Beatlejuice three times.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    pretty sure dorn is the first person to not accidentally google Ambler

  10. jdub Says:

    Random post warning:

    Does anyone know where I put my stash? I haven’t been able to find it for like a week. Fairly substantial size jar too. It could be at home, at the shop, or some stealth spot outside. No clue. It must of been one of those stoned evenings when I was paranoid that my previous spot just wasn’t good enough. I hope my kids or employee don’t find it first.

    Back to talking about Vernon Downs, Vape’s attempts at going out, and whatever rando shit gets brought up here.

  11. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    If you say any variation of random twice in a post then I appear.


  12. jdub Says:

    Well done Rando. I like it.

  13. jdub Says:

    My son already found the pipe once. Held it up to me and asks in a real peculiar way ‘what is this thing?’

    Times they are a changing.

  14. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    sorry, jub. i chuffed it.

    “If the plan is to eventually release most of the summer 98 tour, this release makes sense. In a vacuum it’s a little random”

    ^exactly. hence, my shrugging of the shoulders, “Sure”, response.

    Ambler is less then 20 miles from Philly. I have lots of really good friend who live in Ambler. Coincidentally, that is also where i went to High School. R5 Line for life.

  15. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    Ramble On Jam= dope. i love ’98.

  16. phlorida phan Says:

    Def not looking forward to these pre teen/teen years ahead and worrying if my stash is in a sufficient place. So far little dude has only found some used tankers under the couch, thinks they’re old dog toys, lol. And he thinks I don’t smoke either, which is fun being a ninja around the house when we have him. Gonna be 4 in april, expert ninja level will be needed soon

  17. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Took today off just because because I needed it. Vernon Downs is definitely high evergy and was used as motivation to clean the hell out of my house.

    I thought I heard Ramble On veering into Cocaine but then some plinkoish bliss space thankfully prevailed. Very enjoyable front to back spin of the show today.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    When i found my dad’s jar.. i started pinching little bits with my friends.

    Then one day there’s a note in there: “Dear Jesse, please stop taking my weed.” Lmao for real tho. We freaked out, “he knows! He knows!”

  19. vapebraham Says:

    pinched for pinching

  20. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Fucking degenerates the lute of ya

  21. jdub Says:

    The jar got luted.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Think I just crossed streams…uh oh…

  23. jdub Says:

    jerome, you beat me to it.

  24. phlorida phan Says:

    I had the reverse happen, Mom would be pinching my jar.

  25. jdub Says:

    We are staying at my mom’s house during our renovation. Two nights ago the kids and I are digging around in the bookcase at the big house I grew up in. All my dad’s old books, family pictures, and rando things occupy this built in. We pull out a rando book on the top shelf and see something behind. My pops had stashed a vintage 1931 German pistol behind those books. My mom had no clue. Kids are a little freaked as they have never seen a real gun before.

    Unfortunately we will never know how it came to rest there or where it came from.

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